Pumpkin cake pops

Pumpkin cake pops

Pumpkin cake pops

Last week I made a graveyard ghost cake for Halloween, I leveled the top of the cake and had left over buttercream icing so decided to use the leftover cake and icing to make cake pops. These pumpkin cake pops are actually chocolate cake inside. I blended the left over cake, added the icing and mixed to a thick paste. rolled into balls and pushed sticks into them, then set them in the fridge for an hour. Next I melted some white chocolate and added some orange gel colouring (not liquid). I dipped the chilled cake pops into the chocolate and added green sugar pearls onto the top before standing them up to set.  I used a cake pop stand but a mug also works. Once set I added faces with ready made black writing icing.



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Teddy bear cake

crumble cakeThis year my son had two birthday cakes, one for his party and one on his actual birthday – the on the day cake was the easiest he’s ever asked for, “a diamond block from Minecraft, Mummy – so, you know, a blue block”. I think he was lulling me into a false sense of security though because his next request was a party cake that looked exactly like Crumble (his very well loved and grotty bear). Luckily for me there are a few 3d cake tins around which made my life easier – you can find a good range at The craft company.
In the end I found a Wilton 3D Teddy Bear Tin on Amazon which looked close enough to his bear and saved me a lot of drama with hemisphere tins and a bread knife. Making the cake involved removing all the shelves from my oven and baking the bear upside down, nerve wracking but successful. The tin was a Wilton one and I ended up using an 8 egg mix to fill it. I started with 6 but ended up making more batter as I didn’t have quite enough to fill the metal core which helps the cake cook evenly throughout. I used a grass style piping nozzle to create Crumble’s fur and dark brown coloured water icing for his nose and mouth. The eyes were brown smarties with the pupils added using a black food colouring pen. 


The instructions suggest putting grease-proof paper around the join, I skipped this step and the cake did work but with some leakage so probably worth doing.

Thoroughly grease the tin and dust with flour. The flour helps to stop the cake sticking and also shows up any spots you’ve missed while greasing the tins.

Remember to grease and flour both sides of the metal core if you are filling it with batter.

Loosen both sides of the tin once the cake is baked but replace and leave to cool in the tin to protect the cake while it’s at it’s most delicate.

 Linking to Helen’s Bake of the Week at Casa Costello

Casa Costello



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Afternoon tea fit for an Evil Queen

evil-queen-boxHalloween and the final of the great british bake off all within one week of each other doesn’t happen all that often, but last year it did, so it felt like it would be rude not to combine the two. The final of GBBO last year was royal themed, with pavlova crowns, Victoria sponges and picnic tea fit for a queen. The most halloween appropriate queen I could think of was the Evil Queen from snow white and the seven dwarfs, both the disney version and the american series Once Upon a Time, which I really really like. I decided to combine the picnic tea and pavlova signature bake into an afternoon tea she would appreciate, (I’m not sure she actually “loves” anything except that mirror of hers).

crowncollageIncluding the pavlova style meringue crown was perfect as it’s my favourite dessert which I usually only make at Christmas. I thought a crown with lots of teeth dripping with blood would be her kind of thing so I made an italian meringue (80g of egg white to 215g castor sugar, heated with a little water to 113.5c) which holds it’s shape when piped and then baked it in the oven at 150c to crisp it up. It was made of two 9 inch discs and a smaller top to make the crown. Whipped cream, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries made the filling along with a thick raspberry “jelly” (according to Mary Berry this week it isn’t jam if the seeds are sieved out), made with less sugar than traditional jam to keep it tart enough to offset the sweet meringue.

The rest of my afternoon tea had to adapted slightly to appeal to the majority of my audience – i.e. a five year old and a seven year old, so instead of savoury scones and sausage rolls we had baked ham and cheese bread rolls shaped like snails and cherry scones, baked chocolate custard tarts with white chocolate custard spider web decorations, a ganache covered chocolate cake shaped like the Evil Queen’s box for Snow White’s heart and candy apples (not poisonous).picnic2 The snail buns are made by rolling out the bread dough between the first and 2nd prove and filling with parma ham and grated mozzarella cheese in a similar method to my savoury corone. The dough is then rolled up into a spiral and cut into sections, the last part of the roll makes the snails heads and the rolls are stood on a greased and floured baking tray for their 2nd prove before baking. The chocolate tarts are mini versions of the chocolate tart I made last year – the same recipie made seven small tarts. The candy apples are made by heating castor sugar, red food colouring  and a little water to 150c (the hard crack stage) and pouring over the apples – if they are on sticks you get better coverage by dipping the apples into the sugar syrup. Finally the chocolate cake recipe is an adaptation of an easy sponge cake with some flower paste decorations.



Evil Queen's chocolate box
An easy chocolate cake covered in dark chocolate ganache shaped like the Evil Queen's heart box.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
  1. For the cake;
  2. 250g Castor sugar
  3. 250g Unsalted butter
  4. 4 Large eggs - beaten
  5. 2 tsp Vanilla essence
  6. 200g Self raising flour
  7. 50g Cocoa powder
  8. 50 to 100ml of whole milk
  9. For the ganache;
  10. 200g dark chocolate
  11. 200ml double cream (room temperature)
  1. For the cake;
  2. Grease and line a loaf tin
  3. preheat the oven to 160c
  4. Soften the butter
  5. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  6. Mix in the beaten eggs and vanilla essence
  7. Mix together the flour and cocoa powder
  8. Fold the flour and cocoa powder mix into the egg mixture
  9. Mix in the whole milk a little at a time until the mixture falls easily from a spoon
  10. Place the mixture in the greased and lined loaf tin
  11. Bake at 160c for 1hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
  12. Cool the cake on a rack then cut off the top to make a flat top for the box and if needed cut off the ends of the cake to make the box look the right length.
  13. For the ganache;
  14. Melt the dark chocolate 30 seconds at a time in the mircowave, stirring between each time until no lumps remain
  15. Make sure the chocolate is liquid but not hot.
  16. Stir continually and pour in the double cream - the mixture will thicken.
  17. Use a palate knife to spread the ganache over the cake.
For the decorations
  1. Use flower paste if you have it - it will hold it's shape better than normal fondant. I used a chocolate mould to make the heart shape and made the dagger by hand. blue and green coloured flower paste or fondant make the side panels of the box - a pizza wheel works well to cut the straight edges. Attach to the cake before the ganache sets.
Mummy makes cakes http://jaisee.com/mummymakescakes/

This post is being linked to the great blogger’s bake off final competition kindly hosted by the lovely Jenny Paulin at Mummy Mishaps. She is working with Tesco who are sponsoring the competition and have some fabulous prizes on offer.

Mummy Mishaps
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Once upon a time at Christmas…

christmasaurusOnce upon a time a little boy aged 7 and 1/4 was sent a book called ‘The Christmasaurus’ by the kind people at Penguin Random House and he absolutely loved it!

My son is very excited about Christmas this year and loves dinosaurs so this book by Tom Fletcher is perfect for him, we’re currently reading a chapter every night at bedtime and there’s always pleading to “just read a bit more mummy”.

Penguin Random House think that books make the best Christmas presents, (they do admit they might be biased), because they are full of unforgettable characters and unexpected adventures. They are stories that can last a lifetime with no batteries required. 

I think the Christmasaurus will be a firm favourite in our house for a long time, it has a dinosaur, elves with funny names like Snozzletrump and even Santa! You can read an extract from the first chapter here. Some other books which Penguin Random House sent us were “The witche’s vacuum cleaner” – a collection of 14 funny stories by one of my favourite authors – the late, great Terry Pratchet, and “Clover Moon” by Jacqueline Wilson, the adventures of an unusually named girl from Victorian London. All three would make great gifts, whether to read together at bedtime, or for older children to read by themselves. I used to spend hours reading as a child, everything from Roald Dahl to Tolkein. I hope that my children will grow up to love books as much as I do and finding funny, engaging books where they can’t wait to find out what happens next is the best way to do that.

So if you’re looking for an extra present for under the tree why not try one of these books? If nothing else it’s easier to unpack than the toys which I’m fairly sure were packaged people with a grudge against parents.






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Amaretto flavoured fondant fancies with mini amaretti biscuits

Amaretto fondant fancyLife has been a bit hectic this year so this is my first week joining in with the Great Bloggers Bake off, I usually try to join in every week but life was winning this year. All though I haven’t been baking I have been watching and I really wanted to try the fondant fancies. I’ve developed a taste for amaretto in hot chocolate recently and I love amaretti biscuits so I thought I would have a go at some amaretto flavoured fondant fancies with chocolate buttercream and mini amaretti biscuits.

I used Mary Berry’s easy fondant fancy recipie with a shot of amretto added, then halved Gino D’Acampo’s amaretti biscuit recipe for mini decorative biscuits. I cut the edges from the cake, divided it into 12 pieces and coated it with a chocolate buttercream. I left half of the cakes as buttercream covered and then made a pale yellow fondant to coat the outside f the remaining six cakes. Both types were topped with mini amaretti biscuits.

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Mummy Mishaps


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What’s your dream kitchen?

breakfast bar2We’ve been in our house now for eight years, and the kitchen has always been good enough, as in there was nothing so wrong with it that justified replacing it. This year though the units began actually falling to pieces and the oven began burning cakes on one side while leaving them underdone on the other, meaning I finally convinced my husband that we should completely refit, with new floor, units, worktops and ovens.

I spent a lot of time looking on sites like pintrest and through google image search to decide what kind of style would look good. Our table and some free standing cupboards are oak so I knew I wanted wood in the design some how. At first I thought about cream units and wooden work tops but after a bit of research it seemed like wooden worktops would take a lot of maintenance and potentially not be very hygienic, so I decided on wooden cupboards instead. With wooden cupboards I knew I wanted a composite worktop which would be better quality than the cheaper laminates on the market. After considering a high gloss black option I eventually decided on Getacore Ivory Raindrops which is a cream quartz-like effect. This makes the room lighter and brighter and matches perfectly the “Burleigh” (now “Kamber”) high gloss porcelain tiles which we chose.

Kitchen side viewThe kitchen is from the Howden’s Tewkesbury Light Oak range with solid wood doors. We looked at vinyl wrapped mdf doors similar to our original kitchen but the Teweksbury range was such a beautiful finish that there was – in the end – no comparison. We were also slightly limited by the fact that I knew from the start that I wanted curved cupboards at the end of the breakfast bar and not all ranges offered this. The end result is very sleek and gives us extra storage, although it did mean finding a built in bin of a reasonable size to replace the one we used to have at the end of the breakfast bar for recycling and general waste. The food and general-waste bins are now both hidden in cupboards under the hob and sink, making the kitchen look tidier and also meaning no more opening germ ridden lids to throw something away -  we just open the cupboard doors.

Ovens and breakfast bar 2Ever since we moved into our house I’ve known that if we re-did our kitchen I wanted eye-level ovens built into a tower unit on the wall – originally this space had wall and floor cupboards with some extra worksurface, but being able to see at a glance how the food is doing more than makes up for this. I chose Neff slide ‘n hide ovens so that children running ’round corners have less chance of bumping into open doors and our existing microwave was fitted in above the ovens to clear off the remaining worktop space. We further reduced clutter on our worktops by investing in a Grohe Red Duo tap which produces boiling water and gets rid of the need for a kettle – the only down side I would say to this solution (apart from the price) is that the tank, filter and other attachments needed for the tap take up a lot of space themselves, limiting space under the sink to the point that we ended up with the tank itself in the neighbouring cupboard so that we could still fit our food waste bin under the sink.

hobWe chose a Bosch induction hob which can just be wiped clean – a much easier job than with our old gas hob – you just have to check any pans you buy are magnetic – no expensive copper bottomed pans for me!

Howden’s is a company which works with independent fitters – it means that rather than going into a shop and designing your kitchen then meeting the person fitting the day they start work, you find your kitchen fitter first then work with them to design what you want. Having heard of lots of problems with store designed kitchens not fitting quite right I liked this idea – we worked with our fitter Pete from IKF Chester Ltd (who was recommended by a friend) from the start, meaning that he saw the layout of the room, understood what I wanted to achieve and worked with us to fit in all the fiddly bits and pieces I wanted. I can highly recommend IKF Chester Ltd. – they worked really hard to get everything just as I wanted it, even when the mosaic tiles I’d chosen as part of the splash-backs arrived and were about half the thickness of the surrounding tiles.

tap and blindsFinally I chose green accents and bought blinds with a “Budding Blossom Grass” design from Web Blinds, some Joseph and Joseph green and cream bits and bobs and used green hand towels which I already had. Overall I think I now have my dream kitchen – what would yours look like?


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Hot cross buns

Hot cross bunsApparently hot cross buns are supposed to be eaten on good Friday (the end of lent). I’m clearly a rebel because I made them on the Wednesday night and took them to work on the Thursday. This was my first ever attempt at hot cross buns and I think they look pretty good considering, I combined a couple of recipes I found online to produce my very own version.





Hot cross buns
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  1. 500g strong white bread flour
  2. 7g dried yeast
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 75g castor sugar
  5. 1 egg (beaten)
  6. 300ml whole milk
  7. 50g unsalted butter (softened)
  8. 75g sultanas
  9. 50g mixed peel
  10. zest of 1 orange
  11. zest of 1 lemon
  12. 1 pink lady apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
  13. 1 tsp cinnamon
  14. 1 tsp mixed spice
  15. 4 tablespoons plain flour and a little water
  16. Apricot jam to glaze
For the first prove
  1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl (place the salt on the opposite side of the bowl to the yeast)
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients
  3. Warm the milk for one minute in a microwave
  4. Add the milk and beaten egg to the dry ingredients and stir
  5. Add the softened butter and knead (either use a free standing mixer with a dough hook or by hand) until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes.)
  6. Once the dough is smooth and elastic cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove for at least an hour until doubled in size.
For the second prove
  1. in a separate bowl mix together the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, lemon zest, apple, cinnamon and mixed spice
  2. Knock back the dough and then gradually knead in the fruit, adding a little more flour as required to allow for the moisture in the apple
  3. Split the dough into about 16 buns and place on a buttered and floured baking tray
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 220c (200c fan)
  5. Cover with a tea towel / cling film and leave to prove for at least 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  6. Mix the plain flour and water to a thick paste and place in a piping bag or freezer bag
  7. Cut the point / corner off the bag and pipe a cross onto the top of each bun
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding.
  9. Remove the buns and place on a cooling rack
  10. Warm a little apricot jam and pass through a sieve to remove any lumps
  11. Brush the apricot jam onto the buns while still warm then leave to cool
Mummy makes cakes http://jaisee.com/mummymakescakes/
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Haagen Dazs belgian chocolate icecream for chocolate week

IMG_0752This week the lovely people at Hagen Dazs were kind enough to send me some vouchers so I could try some of their great flavours for national chocolate week. My particular favourite was the belgian chocolate which is so delicious and indulgent. There is also another new flavor which fits perfectly with the recent trend for salted caramel. “Chocolate salted caramel” – yum! Other old favourites of mine and my husband’s are the cookies and cream and pralines and cream. Basically we really really like their ice creams and will often have them on a movie night or lazy evening on the sofa. We inroduced our kids to the Back to the Future franchise this week, because last Wednesday was the day Marty Mcfly travels to in his future. The film skipped quite a few scenes we didn’t think were suitable for a 4 and 6 year old but my husband still loved sharing one of his favourite films with his children. The perfect type of family film to watch with icecream.


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Classic carrot cake

carrot cake 4 This carrot cake is adapted from the cake I made for Simba the Lion’s birthday a couple of years ago. As well as using lemon juice to sour the milk in this recipe I also added some orange juice to increase the range of flavours. Originally I was just going to make a showstopper Winnie the Pooh cake and iced buns this weekend but I took a carrot cake to work last weeka nd my children asked if they could make another one for them to eat. They really enjoyed the weighing and measuring and apparently it’s the nicest carrot cake ever!!!

For the cake:

300g light muscavado sugar
2 eggs – beaten
100ml whole milk
Juice of half a lemon
50ml of orange juice
300ml corn oil
300g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
half tsp ground ginger
half tsp salt
half tsp vanilla extract
300g grated carrots
100g shelled walnuts – chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 170 c / 325 f and grease and line 2 x 20 cm tins

  • Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour it. (Alternatively you could use buttermilk).
  • Add the orange juice to the milk also.
  • Place the sugar, eggs, soured milk, oil and vanilla extract in a free-standing mixer and beat to combine.
  • In a separate bowl combine the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue to beat until smooth.
  • Add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts then stir by hand to distribute evenly.
  • Pour into the two tins and level the mixture
  • Place in the preheated oven for about 40 min or until a cake tester / knife comes out clean.
  • Turn out onto racks to cool

For the cream cheese frosting

600g icing sugar
100g butter – softened
250g cream cheese – cold

    • In a free-standing mixer beat the icing sugar and butter together until combined.
    • Add the cream cheese and beat at a medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
      be careful not to over beat the frosting or the cream cheese will split and become runny.
    • Use a palate knife to spread the frosting evenly and add extra chopped walnuts on top for decorationcarrot cake 7
Mummy Mishaps
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Winnie the Pooh showstopper cake

The grewinnie main 2at British bake off finished for another year this week and I really think the right person won this year. The final showstopper challenge was a multi tiered classic British cake and one of my favourites is lemon cake. I wanted to make the decoration for the cake classically British as well and one of my favourite children’s books provided the inspiration. Winnie the pooh by A. A. Milne with the original illustrations by E. H. Shepard. The stories seemed perfect as they are part of so many people’s childhood, have some beautiful quotes in them and after all, what goes better with honey than lemon (cake)?

I admit that unlike the cakes in the final I only made two tiers as lemon cake and made the bottom tier as chocolate orange cake – simply because there’s only so much lemon cake that one family of four needs. I made tempered chocolate trees for the top tier, which is based on when Pooh and Piglet nearly catch a Woozle, I made a tempered chocolate house for Eeyore which stood at the base of the cake and I also made dark and white tempered chocolate honey pots filled with a white chocolate ganache.  The bottom two tiers are inspired by Winne the Pooh and some bees, when Pooh pretends to be a little black raincloud to get to the bees’ honey. In the collage picture you can see the detail on the cake and also the artwork which inspired it.

winnie the pooh cake collageOne of my favourite quotes from the Winnie the Pooh stories is “As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen”, it makes me think of when my children were born and I knew that life was never going to be the same. 

Winne the Pooh, Eeyore and the balloon are made from flower paste which dries harder than normal fondant and decorated with the same black water icing I used for the quote,the buzzing bees around Pooh and the footprints in the snow. The tree is made from normal fondant icing – the same kind I used to cover the cakes and the cake drum (board).

To fill and crumb coat all three of the cakes the cakes I made a lemon frosting with the juice from the lemons whose zest I used in the lemon cakes. See below the recipe for a look inside the cakes.


Winnie the Pooh lemon and chocolate orange showstopper
Serves 30
Two tiers of lemon cake on top of a base tier of chocolate orange cake, filled with lemon frosting and decorated with fondant icing and tempered chocolate. You will need two 6 inch tins, to 8 inch tins and two 9 inch tins.
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For the lemon cakes
  1. 500g Caster sugar
  2. 500g Unsalted butter (softened)
  3. 8 eggs (beaten)
  4. 500g Self raising flour
  5. Zest of 5 lemons
  6. Approximately 50ml of whole milk (may vary)
For the chocolate orange cake
  1. 500g Caster sugar
  2. 500g Unsalted butter (softened)
  3. 8 eggs (beaten)
  4. 410g Self raising flour
  5. 90g Cocoa powder
  6. Zest of 3 large oranges
  7. Approximately 75ml of whole milk (may vary)
For the lemon frosting
  1. 1Kg icing sugar
  2. 320g Unsalted butter (softened)
  3. 100ml whole milk
  4. Lemon juice to taste - I like this quite tangy.
To decorate
  1. 2Kg Ready to roll fondant icing
  2. Various gel food colourings
  3. 1 pack flower and modeling paste
  4. 200g Dark Belgian cooking chocolate
  5. 50g White Belgian cooking chocolate
  6. 50ml double cream
  7. Water icing
For the Lemon cakes
  1. Grease and line two 6 inch tins and two 8 inch tins. Preheat the oven to 160c fan or 180c non-fan.
  2. In a freestanding mixer cream together the butter and sugar until pale and mousse like.
  3. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time (add a few spoonfuls of the flour if the mixture starts to split).
  4. Stir in the flour.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Add the whole milk a little at a time until the mixture falls easily from a spoon.
  7. Split the mixture between the four cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Bear in mind that the smaller cakes may bake faster than the larger cakes and may need to be taken out earlier.
  8. Remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool on wire racks.
For the Chocolate orange cake
  1. Grease and line two 9 inch tins. Preheat the oven to 160c fan or 180c non-fan.
  2. In a freestanding mixer cream together the butter and sugar until pale and mousse like.
  3. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time (add a few spoonfuls of the flour if the mixture starts to split).
  4. Mix together the flour and cocoa powder then stir into the egg mixture.
  5. Stir in the orange zest.
  6. Add the whole milk a little at a time until the mixture falls easily from a spoon - you will need to add more milk than for the lemon cakes as the cocoa powder makes the mixture more dry.
  7. Split the mixture between the four cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool on wire racks.
For the lemon frosting
  1. In a freestanding mixer cream together the icin sugar and softened butter.
  2. Add the whole milk and mix on high speed until the mixture is smooth and light.
  3. While continuing to mix add lemon juice to taste - I added about 50ml but I like my frosting quite tangy.
For the decoration
  1. Level the cakes with a cake leveler or bread knife.
  2. Colour your fondant as appropriate, roll out on a non-stick mat then invert onto the cakes, peel off the mat and carefully smooth to remove any creases. Cut off excess fondant using a pizza wheel or knife.
  3. Temper the dark and white chocolate using the seeding method. I used chocolate moulds to make the honey pots and piped freehand onto grease- proof paper to make the sticks for Eeyore's house. To make the trees I sketched one on white paper and laid greaseproof paper on top before piping, moving the template along after creating each tree. Winnie the pooh, Eeyore and the balloon were made by hand from modeling paste, the tree nusing sugar craft tools from normal fondant.
  4. To make the white chocolate ganache filling for the honey pots add the cream (room temperature) to the tempered white chocolate and stir until combined then fill the chocolate honey pots, freeze for 10 minutes then join together with more tempered dark chocolate.
Mummy makes cakes http://jaisee.com/mummymakescakes/

Inside the lemon cakes were a consistent texture just as Paul and Mary asked for. The chocolate orange cake came out pretty well too. Also below are a few photos of the making process.
Winnie the pooh collage 2
For some reason this week also made a classic carrot cake and some iced buns.

Mummy Mishaps


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